From The Mayor’s Desk ...
The importance of our City’s Office of Emergency Management simply can’t be overstated. During the last 12 months alone, OEM Commissioner Joe Bruno and his team have, for example, coordinated the way City agencies handled both a week-long heat wave and a citywide transit strike. They’ve produced a thoroughly updated, comprehensive plan for responding to major coastal storms. And they’ve also continued to constantly lead train-ings and simulations designed to im-prove the way the City manages any conceivable disaster—natural or man-made, accidental or intentional.
Last week, we opened a new $50 million headquarters and emergency operations center for OEM, equipped with the state-of-the-art information technology and communications systems it needs to carry out its vital work. It also is the first environmentally “green” City agency headquarters—making it a facility that will help us keep New York both secure and sustainable in the years ahead.
Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the new headquarters is OEM’s first permanent home since 9/11, when its former headquarters at 7 World Trade Center was destroyed. It contains four facilities essential to OEM’s mission—all designed with back-up systems and emergency generators that will permit them to operate in the event of a power outage.
The first is the City’s new Emer-gency Operations Center. With 130 high-tech workstations, it will be the nerve center for managing multi-agency responses to large-scale events or emergencies. The new headquarters also houses an enhanced “Watch Com-mand.” It’s where emergency services personnel will conduct ongoing, round-the-clock video and audio monitoring of events affecting our city, and communicate with police, firefighters, and other “first responders” as well as with State and Federal authorities. In addition, the new headquarters contains conference rooms and work areas where OEM staff will plan and conduct training exercises. It also in-cludes a fully equipped media briefing room, where, in the event of an emergency, City officials will be able to provide media outlets—and the public—with timely and accurate information.
The new OEM headquarters was also designed and built in an environmentally friendly fashion. It’s located in an old Red Cross building, and to keep material waste to a minimum, it retains many of the building’s original structural elements. Heat-reflecting tiles have been installed on its roof. Occupancy sensors turn down—or turn off—systems when they’re not needed. Because of such features, we expect the OEM building to be the City’s first agency headquarters to be certified “green” by the U.S. Green Building Council.
We live in a world filled with new challenges to our city’s safety. And the capabilities built into OEM’s new Headquarters and Emergency Opera-tions Center demonstrate our commitment to meet those challenges, and do whatever it takes to keep New York secure.